Love, loss, family, and friends

This past Saturday was a day of incredible joyous emotions. After a private wedding on 1.1.11, my close DC friends (minus BFF adopted sister who was of course tending to her husband) gathered Saturday afternoon to celebrate my husband and I, share laughs, share marriage advice, and above all share cocktails. For a few hours, my Alchimie Forever showroom was transformed into a cocktail venue, with a fabulous bartender, Robert, mixing up classic New Orleans cocktails (where my husband is from) and champagne cocktails (always my drink of choice). Every single person who came made me feel so special, so loved, it was truly magical.

Yesterday afternoon my father called me to let me know my grandmother had just passed away. While she had been ill for the last year, and hospitalized for the last month, this still came as a surprise. Does it ever not? This past week-end, her brother and sister came to Geneva from Italy to bid their last farewells. My great-aunt and great-uncle left Sunday evening, and a few hours later my Nona slipped into a coma. She held on until my father could make it back to her side Monday evening, knowing how so very much he wanted to be there when she decided her time had come. She was 92. She had a great life, getting to see her eldest son go to college and then medical school (two firsts in her family), getting so see many grandkids grow up, and even getting to meet one great-grand-daughter. None of that means that I was ready to see her go. She worked harder than anyone else I have ever met in my life, as a farmer and a factory worker. Her hands showed years of manual labor. Her ways of relaxing were to make rugs and clean and scrub her house. She was grateful for all of the little things in life, her motto always being “you have to take life the way it comes.” The good and the bad, the easy and the hard, always with a smile and with a good attitude. I so miss her already. I still had so much to learn from her.

These events reminded me that time with loved ones, time with family, is sacred above all else. These events put things in perspective. My to-do list will be here tomorrow. The world will not end because I have to cancel a meeting to make it home for my grandma’s funeral. I remember when my grandfather passed away I was a sophomore in college, and it was during finals. I told my parents I couldn’t make it home to the funeral because of exams. I hadn’t even checked with the Dean to see what arrangements could be made – I just felt like there was nothing more important than getting my As. My parents, being who they are, left that decision entirely up to me. I don’t regret many things in my life, but that decision I regret every time I think of my Nono, that is one decision I wish I could go back and undo, and remake. Not this time. I will make time to go visit by BFF, no matter what plans have to be canceled. And I will go home for the funeral on Monday. In a way, I am doing just what my friends did on Saturday when they came to be with me on my special occasion: I am making time for the ones I love. Love, family, and friendship above all else. Always. In case I had forgotten, now I remember.